Table of Contents

The winter of 2007/2008 will start on the 22nd of December, 2007, at 1:08 AM EST (December 22nd at 6:08 GMT). It will end (and spring start) on the 20th of March, 2008, at 0:48 AM EST (March 21st 5:48 GMT).

On a somewhat related topic, this year (2007) Daylight Saving Time (DST) ended on Sunday, November 4th at 2 AM.

Peakbagging Rules

Many hikers believe that the first day of winter is Dec. 21st and that the last day is March 20th. In fact, the ADK 46Rs are even more tolerant, accepting any ascent between Dec 21st and March 21st. Things are not quite so simple in New England. The Four Thousand Footer Committee writes:

Trips must begin after the hour and the minute of the beginning of winter (winter solstice), and end before the hour and minute of the end of winter (spring equinox), to satisfy the criteria established by Miriam Underhill, the inventor of the Winter Four-Thousand-Footer Game.

In the US edition of her book, Give me the Hills Miriam Underhill is even more specific, as she writes:

This game was an offshoot, of course, of that very popular game of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Climbing the Four-thousanders, which was set in motion, and such vigorous and enthusiastic motion, in 1958. Our game —"ours" because we were the first to play it— followed right along. As the initiators we set the rules, which concerned the definition of "winter". "Snow on the ground" and other namby-pamby criteria definitely did not count. "Winter" was to be measured exclusively by the calendar. In 1960, for instance, winter began at 3:27 PM on Wednesday, December 21, too late to get up to Crag Camp by daylight.

Notice the use of the word "game". Games have rules, which may well be arbitrary, but if you play a game you should follow the rules. If you do not like the rules, you are free to define your own game, but must clearly differentiate it from the "official" game. Also note the last sentence of the quotation above. The entire trip has to start (and end) during winter. She did not allow the trip up to Crag Camp to start one day before winter, with the final ascent taking place on the first day of winter.

First and Last Day of Winter (Date and Time)

The official times of the Equinoxes and Solstices are available on the US Naval Observatory web site. Note that the times are given in Universal Time (UT) which is, for most purposes, identical to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Table in Eastern Standard Time (USA)

To convert to Eastern Standard Time (USA) subtract five hours. The following table (using EST) is extracted from that site:

Start and End of Winter, EST
Winter of Start End
2001-2002 Dec. 21, 2:21 PM Mar. 20, 2:16 PM
2002-2003 Dec. 21, 8:14 PM Mar. 20, 8:00 PM
2003-2004 Dec. 22, 2:04 AM Mar. 20, 1:49 AM
2004-2005 Dec. 21, 7:42 AM Mar. 20, 7:33 AM
2005-2006 Dec. 21, 1:35 PM Mar. 20, 1:26 PM
2006-2007 Dec. 21, 7:22 PM Mar. 20, 7:07 PM
2007-2008 Dec. 22, 1:08 AM Mar. 20, 0:48 AM

Note that while the first day of winter in 2001 and 2002 is December 21st it occurs after dark in 2002, and less than two hours before sunset in 2001. So the first full hikable winter day in 2001-2003 is Dec 22nd. In 2004 December 21st is a full hiking day.

Similarly, except in 2003, March 19th is the last full hikable day of winter, as winter ends too early on the 20th of other years to allow a full day of hiking. It is possible, though, to reach the trailhead from a hut (or a short hike) on that day in 2002, but not in 2004 or 2005.

Table in Greenwich Mean Time

Many surfers reach this page searching for the start and end of winter for purposes other than peakbagging in New England. For their sakes I am including a table, similar to the one above, in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Start and End of Winter, GMT
Winter of Start End
2001-2002 Dec. 21, 19:21 Mar. 20, 19:16
2002-2003 Dec. 22, 1:14 Mar. 21, 1:00
2003-2004 Dec. 22, 7:04 Mar. 20, 6:49
2004-2005 Dec. 21, 12:42 Mar. 20, 12:33
2005-2006 Dec. 21, 18:35 Mar. 20, 18:26
2006-2007 Dec. 21, 0:22 Mar. 21, 0:07
2007-2008 Dec. 22, 6:08 Mar. 20, 5:48

Daylight Saving Time or Summer Time

Many surfers land on this page searching for the start and end of winter time! For their benefit I am including notes on the United States and the European Union, information on other countries can be found at Worldwide daylight saving. David Prerau has written Sieze the Daylight, a book dedicated to this topic

Start and End of Daylight Saving Time (USA)

Beginning in 2007, daylight time will start on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November. To quote the When Does Daylight Time Begin and End? page of the US Naval Observatory FAQ:

Starting in 2007, daylight time begins in the United States on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. On the second Sunday in March, clocks are set ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. local standard time, which becomes 3:00 a.m. local daylight time. On the first Sunday in November, clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time, which becomes 1:00 a.m. local standard time. These dates were established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub. L. no. 109-58, 119 Stat 594 (2005).

That page also contains a very interesting history of daylight saving time in the USA.

Start and End of Summer Time (EU)

In the European Union "Summer Time" (its official name in Europe) starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October, at 1:00 am Greenwitch Mean Time

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